Treatment and Prevention

Treatment and Prevention


Know your treatment goals


The treatment goals of atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) start with a proper diagnosis through an in-depth examination from a physician. The exam usually includes questions about your history and often an EKG or ECG. Some patients may need a thorough electrophysiology study.


Prevention and Risk Reduction


Although no one is able to absolutely guarantee that a stroke or a clot can be preventable, there are ways to reduce risks for developing these problems.

After a patient is diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, the ideal goals may include:

  • Restoring the heart to a normal rhythm (called rhythm control)
  • Reducing an overly high heart rate (called rate control)
  • Preventing blood clots (called prevention of thromboembolism such as stroke)
  • Managing risk factors for stroke
  • Preventing additional heart rhythm problems
  • Preventing heart failure


Getting Back on Beat


Avoiding atrial fibrillation and subsequently lowering your stroke risk can be as simple as foregoing your morning cup of coffee. In other words, some AFib cases are only as strong as their underlying cause. If hyperthyroidism is the cause of AFib, treating the thyroid condition may be enough to make AFib go away.

Doctors can use a variety of different medications to help control the heart rate during atrial fibrillation.

"These medications, such as beta blockers and calcium channel blockers, work on the AV node," says Dr. Andrea Russo of University of Pennsylvania Health System. "They slow the heart rate and may help improve symptoms. However, they do not 'cure' the rhythm abnormality, and patients still require medication to prevent strokes while remaining in atrial fibrillation."

Recent Discussions From The Newly Diagnosed Forum
winnifred55 avatar

Laying in bed on the morning of 11/30 I started getting a fast irregular heartbeat and was lightheaded, nauseated, and had chest tightness. After about an hour I called the doctor, who said to go to the ER. By the time I was able to get childcare and get to the hospital, it had resolved. They recommended following up with a cardiologist if I had further symptoms. 

Since then I've had frequent palpitations during the day and episodes that my fitbit has classified as afib every day or every other day lasting 5-10 minutes. Brought the PDFs of these to my first cardiology appointment and he diagnosed paroxysmal afib based on them and did an echo which came back normal. He put me on metropolol and said that after a few weeks of being on this, afib should go away and stay gone since I have no structural abnormalities. 

I've been on it for a week now, and still having a lot of palpitations. Slightly fewer afib episodes - only 3 in the last week, but they are lasting longer - closer to an hour. 

Has anyone ever had short term metropolol "cure" their afib?

dvaughan avatar

Hi, I was diagnosed in 2017. My doctor put me on Eloquis and Metoprolo and I didn't have another attack until 11/23/20. My heart rate went to 141. I went to the hospital and they were able to get the rate down and BP down. They tell me I have no blockages or clots. I'm staying on the same meds, and was released yesterday. Today my rate spiked to 131 BP. Dr's office is closed for the holidays and I just need to know if this is normal and what I can do to stop these spikes? Any help is appreciated. 

Neanderthal avatar

I was diagnosed about 1.5 yrs. ago.  For the most part I was prescribed Metroprolol, Eliquis and Flecainide.  The medications controlled my AFIB but I didn't like the side effects which was that when I did exercise, which I do most days, my heart rate would not come up.  It would stay around 60 bpm.  I got one of those Kardia electrocardiograms for around $100.  I monitored myhself and slowly weaned myself off of those medications by ensuring that I stay fully hydrated and staying away from salty/fatty foods.  I believe that getting dehydrated and/or eating salty/fatty foods will trigger an AFIB episode in me.  I'm 57 and the only health issue I have/had is AFIB.  I recommend trying to improve your diet and stay very hydrated to see if this helps you.

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